One way to keep your home warmer this winter is to replace or install weatherstripping around your doors and windows. Weatherstripping seals the gaps around doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping your home.
Your doors and windows may already have weatherstripping built into them; however, the weatherstripping can become permanently compressed or damaged over time. In some cases, the weatherstripping may only be working around a portion of the door or window frame. In these situations, you'll find a variety of weatherstripping choices at any home improvement store to either replace the old weatherstripping or augment what is already there.
To check the existing weatherstripping for proper functionality, feel around the edges of the door or window with your hand. Note that it is preferable to do this on a cold windy day. If you feel cold air drafts around the doors and windows, then you know you have a weatherstripping problem.
After identifying the locations of the door and window drafts, it is time to consider the type of weatherstripping to install.
The most prevalent type of weatherstripping, and the easiest to install, is foam weatherstripping. Foam weatherstripping has an adhesive on the back of it. All you have to do is cut it to length, remove the paper that exposes the sticky surface, and apply it to the door or window frame. When the door or window is closed, the weatherstripping compresses and forms an airtight seal. Foam weatherstripping typically has a limited life of a few years, and so you will need to periodically check it to make sure the foam does not remain compressed when the door or window is open.
Felt weatherstripping is very similar to foam weatherstripping. You simply cut it to length and then tack it to the door or window frame with brads. Felt weatherstripping can also be found with an adhesive backing.
*Spring Metal Strips
Spring metal strips are frequently used around doors. They are available in a number of metal-type finishes and come in either long strips or rolls. They attach to the sides of the doorframe with brads. Spring metal strips are a more durable type of weatherstripping compared to the foam weatherstripping.
There are also metal strips that come with an adhesive-backed surface. These are a little easier to install, as all you need to do is remove the paper backing from the adhesive coating and then press the metal strip against the doorframe.
*Interlocking Metal Strips
Interlocking metal strips come in two sections. One part fits on the doorframe or window frame and the other on the door or window itself. When they come in contact with each other, they compress together to form a tight seal. Interlocking metal strips require some patience and installation skills because close alignment work is required.
As what is typically used on portable air conditioners, accordion-shaped vinyl inserts are another type of weatherstripping. They are used for filling gaps in larger openings.
With larger spaces or uneven spaces, it is best to use exterior-grade door and window caulk. Typical areas for using caulk are around exterior doorframes and window frames, e.g. where clapboards butt up against the side of the door or window frame, and around vent pipes and fan assemblies. To install caulk, just cut the end of the tube at a 45-degree angle, puncture the inside seal of the caulk tube with a long nail, and then insert it into a caulking gun. Then simply compress the plunger and apply a bead of caulk around the door/window frame or vent tube.
Installing door and window weatherstripping is easy to do, and it can save you a bundle on home heating costs. So check out your doors and windows today to determine whether they are in need of some weatherstripping.
Mark J. Donovan's website is at http://www.homeadditionplus.com.